Readers’ Forum October 9, 2006


    Birds of a Feather

    I am not an attractive person. This does not bother me. Attractive women dating unattractive men, this bothers me. Being unattractive, I tend to stick to my kind. This is ok with me, in fact I probably find other girls attractive that would probably be considered ugly by most. But I am starting to get a false hope. I am seeing an increasing trend of beautiful women dating ugly men. This must be put to a stop before I feel that I am “beautiful girl material.” I urge all attractive females to put a stop to this. Stop dating your ugly boyfriend immediately. Let them date their own kind, for if not, there will be a surplus of ugly women, which would be good for me, but bad for them. Any who disagree to this proposition is either an ugly guy themselves, or a girl who is dating an ugly guy. Please stick with your kind.

    Mike Hall

    San Bernardino, Calif.

    Wasted Vote?

    When some of my friends find out that I’m voting for Pete Ashdown for U.S. Senate, they ask why I would throw my vote away for a little-known candidate. After all, Senator Orrin Hatch has been a Senator for 30 years and has $2.5 million to spend on the campaign. Hatch is currently leading in the polls, and has thus far held this position by ignoring the opposition and pretending that Ashdown doesn’t exist.

    My reply is that whether Ashdown wins or loses, the only way I could “throw away” my vote would be to vote for a candidate that I feel is trying to lead the country in the wrong direction. If I were to choose my candidate based only on whom I think will win, then I truly would waste my vote. I’m still hopeful that enough people will actually research the issues and find that Ashdown is the proper candidate. If on Nov. 8, however, I find that Hatch has been elected yet again, at least I will know that my vote was not wasted because I will have done everything in my power to elect an honest, open, and untainted Senator.

    Stephen M. McQuay


    Short Skirts and Leggings

    This being my fourth year at BYU, I thought I had seen all of the typical and despicable forms of immodest clothing around campus. You know, the classics: clothing so tight it looks painted on (it really should be handed down to smaller people or you should drop a few sizes before you wear it), sheer clothing without proper clothing underneath (proper shirts include sleeves), shirts, pants and skirts too low cut, thus revealing skin (skin that other students should not see) and, my personal least favorite, those individuals that sunbathe in tank tops and skimpy shorts or even swimsuits on Helaman Hall lawns (where everyone walking by can see). To all of you I simply say: Please dress modestly.

    Anyway, this year I have seen something new: short skirts with leggings underneath. In case you did not know, leggings do not make up for the fact that your skirt is above your knees. Leggings are in the category of nylons or tights, especially when they are worn skin-tight as I keep seeing. In other words, the short skirt and legging combo is not modest.

    Please understand that I do not want to cramp your style. If you like leggings, wear them with knee length or longer skirts. If you like short skirts, wear them with pants. I do not care what you wear, as long as it is modest.

    Honestly, I do not need to lecture anyone on modesty. The Lord, through His servants, has done a very thorough job. So please just take this as a friendly reminder that whatever you wear, please make sure it is modest.

    Britt Harvey

    Brighton, Mich.

    Kudos, Campus Cartoonist

    I just want to say kudos to Friday’s cartoon in the Readers’ Forum about making judgments. I liked how well Joseph Smith’s calm, dignified manner was contrasted with that of the furious, tantrum-throwing little urchin. Since our Western cultural heritage is drenched in moral relativism, disregard for authority and other extreme individualistic values, I expect that the often-shrill, often-trite denouncement of judgment will continue to recur for semesters to come in this forum. I just hope there will always be clever, rational people like the cartoon’s author to challenge these arguments when they do arise.

    A final note to advocates of the “no judgment” myth: clearly, much pain and frustration can be caused when people are unfair and unkind in their assessments of people and situations, but you are kidding yourselves if you think you can go through life judgment – and value – neutral. The challenge then, is to “judge righteous judgment” as the scriptures and prophets teach.

    Bryce Goodwin

    Portland, Ore.

    Mormon Taliban

    BYU students are the best. The standards that exist here can’t be beat. There are some though, who posses, dare I say, extremist opinions about what conduct is appropriate, and feel it their duty to criticize those that offend them. These self-righteous, holier-than-thou attitudes eerily mimic the attitudes of another extremist group – the Taliban.

    The Taliban banned all forms of television, imagery, music and sports. Beards were required to be at a specified length, and women were obliged to wear the burqa when appearing in public. This group required such a level of conformity that any deviation from what the Taliban deemed “appropriate” was grounds for ridicule, punishment and often times, death.

    It is funny to me that these Mormon Tailban members find it so necessary to be intolerant, condemning and judgmental of the different views of others on campus that may not share the same zealous views of their own. Just because you chose to watch G-rated movies only, making others feel guilty for attending a rated PG-13 movie, using colorful language, or even drinking an occasional diet coke because you live on a “higher plane” are sad displays of misconstrued priorities and lack of understanding of the gospel. Just because your opinion of a dance routine or the comment that someone made is unfavorable, what authority or scripture reference can you give to label it as inappropriate or evil?

    Maybe you should never leave your apartment to be exposed to diversity of any sort. “Don’t judge lest ye be judged.” Or maybe we all should wear some sort of “burqa” so you won’t be offended.

    Lee Carnell

    Memphis, Tenn.

    Crossword Deja-Vu

    Imagine my surprise when I went to do the crossword puzzle Friday only to realize I already knew the answers to all the clues. Had I been bequeathed with intelligence from on high? Were the lobes of my brain fusing together in some John Travolta-esque way? No, unfortunately, The Daily Universe had once again snubbed its crossword-loving clientele by putting in the wrong puzzle, this time using a puzzle from a few weeks ago. Granted, it was a good puzzle (nine 15-letter answers crossing), but the magic was gone the second time around.

    To whoever is in charge of inserting the NY Times crossword, please know that your readers care which puzzle you haphazardly throw into the paper. And please don’t mix up the days of the week. NY Times crossword puzzles get increasingly harder throughout the week and it’s quite disappointing to find a monstrosity of a Friday puzzle when you were looking forward to the relaxing ease of a Monday puzzle. I’m sure I’m not alone in saying the only reason I read your articles is because I skim through them on my way to the Letters to the Editor and the crossword puzzle. I hold my tongue at the typos and pseudo-news because I know your situation and appreciate your effort, but the least you could do is print the right puzzle.

    Steven Brown

    Dale City, Va.

    Love and Marriage

    My parents divorced when I was five and my mother never remarried, so going into the dating scene I had a somewhat fatalistic attitude about marriage. I wish that instead of hearing people talk about how hard/stressful/arduous marriage is, more people had stepped up and said, “Don’t pay any attention to them–marriage is wonderful!” So for those of you who are not yet married and worry about how life will be when you are, let me be a voice to say that marrying my husband is the best thing I ever did.

    Of course, there will be times when marriage is rough and requires more of you than you’re accustomed to giving, but the benefits far outweigh the sacrifices you make for one another. My husband is the closest friend I’ve ever had, and we share everything; the give and take of marriage only brings us closer together. There is a deep sense of peace and contentment that I feel while cuddling with my husband that I’ve never found anywhere else. I am such a better person for knowing him, and he gives me something to look forward to as I come home every day.

    Now if somebody would only testify how wonderful children are, so that I will quit worrying about how life with an infant will be.

    Whitney Bangerter

    Meridian, Idaho

    Engagement Watch

    As a recently engaged male student at BYU, I have noticed a few flaws in the traditional engagement system. As a personal disclaimer, this has absolutely nothing to do with my really, really, really ridiculously good-looking fianc?e. I would like to present a new idea that will not only fix the long-standing problems of being engaged but will also be the next big cultural phenomenon of BYU.

    As I see it, there are mainly two problems that have withstood the test of time. Ladies, have you ever secretly admired a man for an entire semester hoping if you toss your hair or giggle at his jokes enough that he will one day ask you out and then later find out that he is already engaged?

    Gentlemen, do you ever feel you are getting the short end of the stick when you spend a sizable portion of your summer earnings on a big, shiny diamond ring only to get a tiny piece of cheap metal on the day you tie the eternal knot? Well, I would like to humbly proclaim that both of these time-lasting problems could be solved with one easy solution. Intrigued? I thought you might be. I would like to propose the earth-shattering idea of “the engagement watch.”

    Obviously there are going to be a few growing pains as we get this cultural phenomenon started. However, I believe the engagement watch has tremendous upside for everyone involved. Guys get a return on their diamond ring investment with a brand new designer watch (rule 1: girls must spend at least 70 percent of the value of their ring). The obviously expensive bling bling on the left wrist (rule 2: pre-engagement watches must now be relatively cheap and worn on the right hand) informs all of the girls as to which men are spoken for and which ones are fair game. The engagement watch will be much like how the diamond ring is in instant indicator for the guys: when you see the rock you know to walk. Let’s face it; the engagement watch truly is a winner for all parties involved. How much grief, pain and bitterness in this cruel, cruel world could easily be erased by everyone banding together for one great cause: The Engagement Watch.

    Wade Whiting

    Camas, Wash.

    Tips on Tipping

    We, as Mormons, generally are frugal people. It is a valued part of our culture and important to live within our means. But we are also generally kind, loving and appreciative, which is also an honored part of our heritage. So, how do we approach the tipping of those attending to us at a more up-scale restaurant? Are we cheap, or are we generous? Which side of our heritage do we follow? Take into consideration the fact that the servers work their tails off for you, and work almost exclusively off of what you give them. My wife is a server at a local restaurant, constantly seeing 10 percent tips on large tickets from students who don’t plan in the tip to meager budget. Please, people – for the love of your other fellow students, plan on tipping decently when you go out when the server warrants a reward for hard work done. It is devastating to walk away from a table with nothing when you have done your best to show them they are welcome. It shows class and honors the better part of our heritage, that of generosity.

    Steven Clark


    I Wear What I Want

    I had an experience where I was wearing a certain brand of clothing and someone made a comment that I was branded like a cow. I think that some people have a gross misconception about clothing and style. I don’t pretend to be an amazing surfer or a great snowboarder, but I do like the style that is associated with those groups of people. I buy clothes because of the way they look. Do I wear this shirt because I am trying to look like something I am not? No. I wear it because of how it looks. There is a difference between the shirt I ‘ m wearing and a plain brown shirt from Wal-Mart. This shirt has a certain flavor and style. I think that people may see that as vain or something, but I like clothes for how they look regardless of what brand is written on them. People who feel like I am somehow wrong for wearing these clothes have a style that appeals to them and shouldn’t be criticized for that. We all choose what we wear for certain reasons that, in most cases aren’t just for the label. We just wear what we like.

    M. Ryan May


    More Support for Cougarettes:

    I consider myself a fairly cultured person. Those who know me best might beg to differ on the matter, but having visited and lived in numerous states and countries, I’ve come to see various cultures at work and play. So when I read about the supposed spiritual injustice represented by the blasphemous performance of “Come Thou Fount” in Devotional, I’m admittedly confused, albeit not too surprised.

    The BYU Dance program, being the largest in the country, takes their reputation to heart and is always a cut above other universities in many aspects, particularly in modesty, not just in dress, but in routines. Reverent expression is thankfully not limited to sacrament meeting-style performances. The offended women who complained (Oct. 4) must be on a spiritual plane unattainable to the rest of us mere mortals, for they saw in that clean production offense that thousands of others didn’t see – hence the applause, hmm? President Samuelson’s clapping was a good enough barometer for me. Now, ladies, though you’ve claimed this sacrilegious misuse has deeply offended many of our student body??, I only see two signatures on your article. But don’t worry; one of Provo’s most time-honored traditions is the minority’s vocal expression of self-righteous indignation and judgment. Kudos.

    Ben Jensen

    Portland, Ore.

    While I agree that “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” is indeed a beautiful hymn, I don’t believe we can claim it as one of “our sacred hymns.” A simple scouring of the alphabetical listing of hymn titles and first lines will confirm the fact that the song is no longer included among the other Hymns of Zion. Although beloved by the LDS community, the inspiring words were penned in the 18th century by Robert Robinson, and are sung in many Christian congregations throughout the world. It, therefore, falls under a separate category of songs for which performance art is valid, and perhaps even encouraged, due to the more rigorous restrictions placed upon the hymns.

    I for one would much rather have a spiritually uplifting tune be the backdrop for a dance performance than, say, “Baby Got Back,” by Sir Mix-a-Lot. During the performance, I found that my thoughts were centered on Christ and his Atonement; I’m sure many others’ were as well. By stating, “Hymns should never be used in a routine or setting to garner loud, rambunctious approval from a riotous crowd,” you are discounting the fine work and many hours of dedication that were put into producing the visual accompaniment to the music. The appropriate applause (for which President Samuelson himself announced approval) was not directed at the hymn, but rather to the performers, as appreciation for providing us with entertainment and inspiration. Any disdain could have been expressed by abstaining from the applause ritual.

    Joseph Schlegel


    To the writers of “Devotional dancing disaster,” (Oct. 4) calling the Cougarette performance at the devotional ‘blasphemous’ I say the following words: your letter tells the campus community a whole lot more about you than it does the Cougarettes. Good grief – chill out already.

    Ben Watson

    Fairfield, Mont.

    The writers of “Devotional dancing disaster” (Oct. 4) went overboard in their critical, hurtful and condescending letter. It is one thing to have a difference of artistic opinion and another to use words like “blasphemous” and “sacrilegious” to describe their “disgust,” and “revulsion” at the Cougarettes’ dance devotional number, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” (a hymn which, notably, is not currently in our official church hymnal).

    They unnecessarily inform us that hymns are meant to “invite the Holy Spirit and inspire reverence” as well as “turn our minds to God, [and] leave us renewed and enlightened.” One would have hoped it also unnecessary to point out that as a form of artistic expression, dance, particularly from the graceful and talented Cougarettes, can also spiritually uplift and inspire.

    And finally, since they also took so much offense at the well-deserved applause from the “riotous crowd,” I would like to (unnecessarily) point out that concerts by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, BYU choirs and orchestras, and EFY songwriters always include hymns that are performed to great applause by audience members who appreciate the artistic talent and the spiritual sincerity of the performers.

    Great dancing, Cougarettes.



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